A TORY politician has left his party in order to become an independent.

Cllr Paul Rogers, who represents the village of Brymbo on Wrexham Council, said he had been planning to make the decision for some time.

It comes after the former Assembly candidate for Clwyd South stepped down from his role as an executive board member in February to focus on ward issues.

Cllr Rogers has been a vocal opponent against the authority’s Local Development Plan which includes proposals to house a gypsy and traveller site on a former sewage works in Brymbo.

The plan was voted through last week despite strong opposition.

The 33-year-old is now listed as non-aligned on the council’s website and has not joined either of Wrexham’s two independent groups.

In a statement, he said: “Colleagues for some time have been aware of my intentions to take a break from being active in party politics and sit as an independent councillor for Brymbo.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Conservative Party and I would also like to thank the leader of the council and deputy leader, who both have my full support.”

In September Cllr Rogers was suspended from his party following an allegation of assault, but reinstated after no further action was taken by North Wales Police.

His decision to leave the party means the number of Conservative councillors in the county has dropped from nine to eight.

The Tories still have the third largest amount of members after council leader Mark Pritchard’s Independent group (16) and the Labour Party (12).

However, they now hold the position jointly with the Wrexham Independent Group, led by executive board member Cllr David A Bithell.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Conservatives said: “Paul Rogers has taken the decision to become an independent councillor for Brymbo.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul for all of the good work he has done in that ward.”